Best Graphic Design Apps for Social Media Posts

Best Graphic Design Apps for Social Media Posts

Users on social media expect unique and engaging images that will draw them in and encourage them to respond to your post. This is sometimes best accomplished by a great graphic design that will make people want to share your image. Fortunately there are plenty of apps available to help you create interesting graphics for your posts.

Canva – One of the most useful tools for visual design especially for business owners and entrepreneurs is Canva. This is an app that is easy to use for people with limited design skills who want to create a custom image. You can use the app to choose a layout, search for images, purchase stock photos, add visual effects and customize the color scheme and font to match your brand.

PiktoChart – If you are looking to make your own infographics for your social media posts then Piktochart might be the best app to choose. You can also use the app to make reports, banners and presentations in addition to infographics. There are built in templates to choose from that you can easily customize and edit in order to match your brand’s color scheme and themes.

QuotesCover- Posting quotes on your social media sites can be a great way to capture people’s attention and inspire them. QuotesCover is an app that allows users to create beautiful quote graphics so that you can add a design element to personal or famous quotes that you want to share. Within the app you can choose a layout, add your quote, add a photo or choose a plain background and customize the color and font.

Whatever type of graphics you are hoping to post on your site, there are apps that specifically cater to what you are looking for and make it easy to customize and design unique images.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Slow Website? Find out Why with the Dotcom-Tools Speed Test!

Slow Website? Find out Why with the Dotcom-Tools Speed Test!

No one likes a slow website. In 2008, this was somewhat acceptable, but in 2018 where most people have blazing fast internet in the palms of their hands, patience has dwindled for slow-loading websites.

Nowadays, most people expect websites to load in under 3 seconds, and there’s a significant amount of research showing that people will bounce or abandon a site very quickly (and not return) when the load time exceeds 3 seconds. In addition to users disliking slow websites, search engines like Google also factor website speed into their ranking algorithms and demote slow sites in the search results. Therefore, having a speedy website is a must!

What Can Be Done About Slow Loading Websites?

Most people know that slow loading websites aren’t good, but they have no idea how to fix them or where to start. This presents a big problem, because most sites that could be fixed by simple optimization sit and remain slow because their owners don’t know where to begin.

According to Web Hosting Buddy, there are a variety of causes for slow-loading websites, such as poor quality web hosting companies, overloaded servers, large images, unoptimized code, DNS issues, and other problems.  

Luckly, Dotcom-Monitor offers a free suite of testing tools on Dotcom-Tools.com, including a website speed test that runs from 25+ locations around the world. No other tool like this exists online, and it’s a great resource because it’s completely free to use.

How to Test With Dotcom-Tools

  1. Visit https://www.dotcom-tools.com/website-speed-test.aspx and input your How to Test With Dotcom-Toolswebsite’s URL. You can test your home page or specific inner pages.
  2. Complete the quick captcha, and then choose your browser type. Dotcom-Tools offers 7 different browsers types, including iOS and Android for testing mobile-responsive websites.
  3. Choose your testing locations, then click “Start Test.” The test will begin running in a round-robin fashion from all of the various datacenters around the world.
  4. View your detailed results by clicking on the page load time. This will generate a waterfall chart where you can see every single element on the page, the size, and how long it took to load.
  5. Analyze the waterfall chart to see where you can make improvements. Large images, long wait time, lack of caching are all areas that can commonly be improved.
  6. Click on the “Summary” and “Performance” tabs to see a breakdown of the best and worst performing elements, including various charts and graphs that help summarize the information.
  7. Finally, click on the “Host” tab to see where externally loaded resources are hosted and the performance of these elements.

Running a speed test with Dotcom-Tools will give you an incredibly accurate picture of why a particular website is slow and how to fix it. This is something that you should consider when looking at improving the performance of any website instead of flying blind. Next time your website is running slow, be a data driven webmaster and use a speed test like the one at Dotcom-Tools.com in order to ensure that your site is running as fast as it should be.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Do I Need a Website Re-Design?

Do I Need a Website Re-Design?

If you have had your website for a long time and haven’t done much to update it in recent years then you might be wondering about the benefits of a redesign. You may have been holding on to the way your website looks and functions because it seems to work for you but there are certain signs to help you know when a re-design is a good idea. Even though you might be hesitant about making the investment, in many cases a re-design can have a positive impact on your business’s presence online and your success in reaching more customers.

One of the most important reasons to get a website redesign is if you are hoping to improve the user experience on your site. User experience is a newer discipline of design that is becoming increasingly important in the success of your website and the first impression you have on customers. People usually have a better experience on a website when it is easy to navigate, loads quickly and is simple to use.

If there is anything about your website that might hinder a positive experience for the user then it will be a good idea to invest in a redesign. When people have a bad experience with a website then 88 percent are less likely to return to the site. Focusing on improving load times and making a site easier to navigate can be a useful goal to have for a redesign.

A redesign may also be helpful if you are planning on updating your brand, aligning the website with new marketing goals or optimizing the site for mobile phone use. No matter what the reason, if you feel that your business and users alike will benefit from a redesign then it is a worthwhile investment to make.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

10 Reasons Why You Need A New Website

  10 Reasons Why You Need A New Website

Your company’s website often creates a first impression on a potential customer who is just beginning to get to know your brand. The look, feel and functionality of your website is crucial in how you represent your brand and how people interact with your business. If you are wondering whether you need to redesign your website or create a new one here are some reasons why you might need a change.

1. Your Site Looks Out of Date or Stale
If your company designed and put up your website a decade ago, then chances are your customers will notice it is outdated. The appearance of websites always changes over time and if you haven’t updated any time recently then it is probably time to make some adjustments. Modern websites are clean and simple with text that is easy to read so try to incorporate these elements as you update.

2. Your Competitor’s Sites are Better
It is a good idea to review what the competitors in your industry are doing online to evaluate your own site in comparison. If their websites seem more up to date, with better content and design then you probably need to step up your game. When a competitor’s website looks more professional and modern, your potential customers might be more inclined to choose them.

3. Your Site is Hard to Navigate
Customers should be able to look at your site and be able to have all their questions answered relatively quickly. Visitors need to be able to find what they need in only a few clicks otherwise they will give up and move on. Users today have higher standards of ease and functionality than they had in the past so make sure that your site complies with the current expectations.

4. Your Loading Time is Too Slow
In the same way that people have higher standards for appearance and navigation, they also expect a site to load quickly without any issues. People have little patience for a slow site and if your website has too many images or other types of content and won’t immediately load then customers will click away from you.

A slow site also means a lower search ranking on Google since load times are taken into account so improving the speed of your site will help your company in more ways than one.

5. Your Site Isn’t Mobile Friendly
More than half of all search are now done on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets rather than desktop computers. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile use it could appear tiny and unreadable on a smartphone which means customers will avoid it.

A website that isn’t mobile friendly is missing out on a lot of traffic and potential sales. You should think about optimizing for smartphones if you are considering a redesign.

6. You Aren’t Selling Products Directly from Your Site
It is relatively easy now to set up an online store so that customers can buy your products on your site instead of having to click somewhere else or go into your physical location. Even if you are using Amazon or another site to sell you should also include an option to buy on your website so that customers don’t have to waste time and can immediately make a purchase. Your redesign should include setting up a shopping cart if you don’t already have one

7. Your Analytics Show Poor Results
If you have run some website analytics and are getting low numbers for average time on the page or average number of page views per visit then it might have to do with your site design. A high bounce rate could also indicate issues with your site that is causing people to leave too quickly.
Another thing to consider is your search rank if it seems relatively low. Google takes the efficiency of your website into account for ranking so any issues could affect your visibility online.

8. Your Content is Old or Poorly Made
It is crucial now to have fresh, compelling content that is updated as often as possible. If you have had the same content on your website for a while and it doesn’t reflect people’s current interests then you might need to update it. Adding a blog and posting new content every so often can ensure that your website remains interesting and is worth checking out periodically for new information.

9. Your Site Doesn’t Incorporate Social Media
It is no longer possible in the current business climate to ignore the importance of social media in all aspects of promoting your brand. Integrating social media on your site as much as possible will help boost followers and engagement across the board. You need a link somewhere on your site for each of your social media profiles so people can find them quickly and easily.

10. Your Site No Longer Represents Your Brand
When it comes to deciding whether or not to redesign your site it can be as simple as thinking about the evolution of your brand. If your current site does not reflect how you have grown and changed as a company then it is time to update. The bottom line is that your website should be something that you are proud of and anything less needs to be changed for the better.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Reasons Why a Large Site Should be Reorganized

Reasons Why a Large Site Should be ReorganizedSEO Friendly URL Structure

Over the years, you have probably accumulated many pages, articles, and press releases – some that probably have overlapping or duplicate topics. Organizing a big, messy site is a challenge but luckily it can be done in steps. The biggest mistake you can make is not starting.

It begins with taking inventory of all the pages on your website. Don’t forget about folders, folders in folders (if applicable), and any subdomains or other strange anomalies. Use a tool like Screaming Frog, Moz, or LinkSleuth to extract header/title tag information. In a spreadsheet, you can see which topics overlap.

Once the pages are organized by main category, you can rename them with an SEO friendly URL, minimizing repeating keywords and/or dashes where necessary. Take a look at this article: https://moz.com/blog/15-seo-best-practices-for-structuring-urls for some tips.

Easy to Navigate

For Users: Why should you bother to reorganize and restructure a website you ask? The #1 reason would be for enhancing user experience. With pages put in the appropriate directory, with URLs that accurately describe the content, potential customers will be able to easily tell where they are going and where they are.

For Internal Linking: Restructuring URLs to be more organized and intuitive will enhance with your own internal linking and SEO. Having a structured system means that your website is more easily crawled by search engines and that is always a good thing.

Reevaluate What You Really Need

The content on your website should be intuitive, intentional, and serve a specific purpose. If you have a random collection of content, it might not be the best to hold onto everything hoping that it will capture some of the right traffic. Having multiple pages on the same topic isn’t all that helpful and can even be diluting your link juice and ranking ability. Instead of having pages compete against each other on your own site, it may be helpful to combine them to make a longer, informative web page.

Technical Issues When Redirecting

Remember, pages can’t just be deleted and left alone. 301 redirects and changes in the .htaccess are important and your newly renamed URLs may cause havoc if these steps aren’t taken properly. You may need the assistance of an experienced webmaster to make sure that the right measures are taken so that your site doesn’t suffer from broken links and bad user experience.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

What Do Users Look For in a Mobile Website Experience?

mobile-users Now that you’ve (hopefully) survived Google’s Mobilegeddon, it’s time to get back on track with your website’s mobile experience.

Why Mobile User Behavior Matter

When looking at the type of traffic coming to a website, it might be surprising to find out that mobile users will probably fall into the top 1 or 2 spots. Tablets, bigger smartphones, and even smart watches are making it more convenient for users to search from something other than a desktop computer or laptop. The downside is that while the engagement is there, mobile users can drastically differ in their behavior from the average desktop computer user.

Same Content, Different Behaviors

Typically, the duration on site of mobile users is lower than users using a desktop. Typically, there are also less page views and a higher bounce rate. You have to ask yourself WHY mobile user behavior is different when they are essentially looking at the same information as your normal, desktop website. Therein lies the problem. By the nature of the small screen, the user experience is never going to be the same as that of a desktop… no matter how seamless you try to make it.

The goal is to best adapt a mobile/responsive website so that the experience is logical and smooth. Knowing this, it’s understandable why Google stands against ranking websites that redirects all mobile results to a mobile home page. When it comes to designing for the user experience, it’s better to have no mobile redirects if you’re not going to have the results go to the actual page!

Give the Consumers What They Want

Nowadays, before you buy, you’re most likely to pull out your phone to search for reviews or compare prices. The convenience of smart phones have made customers more web savvy than ever. Whether you’re buying something as small as a drugstore lipstick (gotta check reviews first!) or making a big purchase on a car, your phone is your go to research tool. Check out how users start their research:
mobile-research

Next, we look at conversion rates by device top. Notice how iPads surpass conversions on a desktop! Smartphones and iPhones are significantly lower but there is still room for growth.
mobile-device-conversion

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

4 Header Web Design Trends That You Don’t Want to Miss Out On

The header of your website is a focal point and the first thing potential customers will see and the last thing they will remember about your business. Here are a few trends that are hot for 2015:

BIG, Bold Professional-Quality Images

beo
The idea is to create and use a modern image that’s so good that it seems like it could be stock photography. Using custom photos isn’t a new thing but the superb quality of professional grade images is what you want to aim for here. Bottom line, don’t use a huge, blown up picture of your office (or face!) unless it’s ready to be presented in such HD details!

Use of Subtle Videos in the Background

airbnb
Airbnb does a good job of using subtle (but powerful) video snippets in their website header. Videos enrich the user experience and integrating it seamlessly into the header or background is a no-brainer. To kick things up a notch, you can also expect to see these videos on responsive verisons of the website also.

Interactive Layouts

seattle
If you look on top of the home page for Seattle’s Space Needle website, you’ll see “Scroll Up” and the user-experience doesn’t begin until that action begins. Further up, you’ll see a button for “Click Me”. As you may see, this innovative layout will only work for some but it’s interesting nonetheless!

Centering

center
Centering images, text, navigation, videos and more. This is the recipe for a clean modern design AND it’s also perfect for responsive design. A center-centric header design translates across all different screen sizes and is also on point in terms of web design nowadays.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

4 Signs Your Website Design is Ahead of Your Customers

There is much more to a good website design than looking cool. Having a great website design is awesome, but what if it’s too complicated or “sophisticated” for your clients and potential customers? When choosing a new website design, remember that function is just as important as the layout. Here are four signs that your website is just not working for your consumer base:

monocle

Website Does Not Cater To Your Target Audience

Audience segmentation is an integral building block in a marketing plan. This is the process of dividing customers up into subgroups based on criteria such as: demographics, geographics, social behaviors and psychographics. This requires a business to think about customers in relation to what products/servces are being sold. Basically a website shouldn’t aim to be like Tesla if you’re selling a ‘smart car’, and vice versa.

This is difficult because sometimes, owners want their website to convey a feeling of something they like or find aesthetically pleasing. In real life, this may not translate so well for business. The bottom line is to again to design a website according to how customers would want it to be, not just based on personal likes.

Hard to Navigate

High brow design is not always the right option. Choosing unconventional navigation may seem unique and “out of the box” but there are reasons why the layout for website navigation are standardized – customers are used to seeing things in (or around) the same area across the websites they navigate. This means a Home button on the left or top and contact on the top or right. Scrolling options are usually found on the right hand side. Even though it may seem intuitive, don’t overlook a sleek design as your regular customers may not understand or be able to find what they’re looking for.

For example, Contact buttons and pages should be easy to find and have a call to action. Depending on your business and customers, having an icon of a phone may not easily convey “contact” or “call” and having a small button with lines is not enough to convey “menu” or “more options”.

Slow Loading

Don’t expect potential customers to have super fast internet or a super big monitor. Having complicated elements might be ahead of your main target audience, as well as what their equipment can handle. Websites that are image and Flash heavy look good, once the site is fully loaded. But on slow wifi or cell phone internet, this doesn’t fare well for a website. Customers don’t have time for a website to load, or for even portions of a website to load. Contact forms or other important parts of a website may be loading on Javascript, which if is slow loading will also deter customers. Every little thing counts when it comes to web page speed, even if it’s smaller things that you wouldn’t normally think of. Also, don’t forget how we recently discussed Google identifying Mobile-Friendly websites.

Website Is Not Converting

Is your website just sitting pretty? After a quick check that all the contact forms and web pages are working correctly, the next step is to think of why conversions aren’t taking place. There are many reasons why customers aren’t making contact. Besides the ones mentioned above, tere are a few more to consider:

1) Your website doesn’t display what is promised
2) Users are given too little/much information and want to go elsewhere
3) There are no strong calls to action
4) Users feel like your products/services are too cheap/expensive

If you haven’t already guessed, these are issues that can be dealt with in the design and structure of a website. Getting a potential customer to a website is the job for an SEO but what happens afterwards is just as crucial. Have questions about a new website design or help with one that isn’t working? Don’t hesitate to call Emarketed at 800-WEB-5421 today.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Should My Business Get a Custom Web Design or CMS Template Design?

Is it time for a website redesign? There are some important decisions to be made, such as, whether you want a completely custom design or a template design. There are many things to consider when thinking about what’s best for your business. Let’s take a look at what your different options are: webdesign-portfolio

Completely Custom Design

The advantage of having a completely custom website design is that it’s unique to your brand and business point of view. This is especially helpful in highly competitive fields. A custom design will be tailored to your needs and wants, and chances are, there will be no other site that looks exactly like yours. Having a custom website will help your business stand out and it will really be noticeable, especially when compared to competitors. A custom design will stand the test of time and you’ll be able to enjoy it for years to come, without worrying about it feeling outdated quickly. There are some downsides to having your website built from scratch. Since it will take a lot more time and effort than using a template, it will most likely cost a lot more and take longer to build. Especially, if we are talking about responsive website design. Keep this in mind if you’re looking to get a new site design by a certain deadline. Big, custom projects may take longer than expected, especially if you want elements changed and tweaked to your specific wants.

Template Design

There’s nothing wrong with having a template design or CMS website. These sites can look great and function easily, so that you can make changes as needed/wanted without any coding or programming experience. WordPress also has free and premium themes that are good, if not better than what you would imagine for a template design. Cost wise, template websites are usually significantly more cost effective than a completely custom designed website. Depending on your business needs, a template design may be too simple. It may not have the exact design or functional elements that you’re looking for, when compared with a custom website. Although a template design doesn’t mean that your site will look exactly like other sites that use the same layout or theme, it may not be enough to help your website be memorable.

Need Help With Building a Website?

Every business is unique and a website should help convey the right brand identity & message. When thinking about what you want your website to look and feel like, you’ll also need to consider budget and resources. Luckily, there is no one right answer and you can have a successful website with whichever option you choose. Take a look at our Portfolio above and contact us for a free consultation. We’ll be glad to help you start your brand new website or revamp your existing website.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

How Does Good Design Help with SEO?

Building a website from scratch or redesigning an existing website requires that different elements work together. Believe it or not, web design plays a crucial role in your SEO plan. Here are three reasons why:

help

1) Site Architecture

How your website is laid out is very important. When working together, the SEO strategy is to determine what pages are most important in the hierarchy. It’s design’s job to present that information in an attractive and easy-to-follow manner. If you have certain services or products that you would like to emphasize, web design helps make that section of your website stand out more. With SEO, you can help bring traffic to those desired areas.

2) Call to Action/Conversion

Without a clear call to action, visitors will likely just bounce from your website without looking at any other pages, making contact or anything at all. If there is no clear direction to call, contact, download, join, Like or subscribe, your website is pretty much useless. Good web design doesn’t necessarily directly impact your SEO efforts but it plans an important role in that – conversion. Where SEO gets potential customers to your website, it’s the design’s job to get them to stay and convert.

3) Site Speed

As responsive web design catches on and websites become bigger, better and more robust, their site speed also increases. Site speed is considered to be a top contender in search engine ranking factors. The purpose of effective web design is convey the proper brand message (including a call top action) but keeping a handle on it so that your website will load fast. Imagine that your website is ranking phenomenally and leading visitors to a beautifully designed website. The relationship can stop right there if it takes too long for your website to load. It’s a major no-no and something that both SEO and web design has to keep in mind.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.